POSTAL VOTE VAN­DALS

Reports of miss­ing same-sex mar­riage plebiscite let­ters

The Northern Star - - FRONT PAGE - Alina Rylko alina.rylko@north­ern­star.com.au Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics: http://www.abs.gov.au

THE same-sex mar­riage postal vote plebiscite has been la­belled an “un­fair” “big mess” by North­ern Rivers res­i­dents who failed to re­ceive their doc­u­ments in the mail.

The con­tro­ver­sial $122m Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics postal vote opened this week with thou­sands of botched de­liv­er­ies re­ported in Syd­ney, Mel­bourne and Can­berra.

By­ron Bay’s Ka­t­rina Green­halgh, 34, said she found her postal vote pa­pers flung on the drive­way in­stead of her mail­box on Thursday.

Her hus­band’s postal pa­pers were found a few days later un­der a tree.

“Either some­one has mis­de­liv­ered it or some­one is walk­ing around and sab­o­tag­ing the vote by tak­ing let­ters out of the mail­box,” Ms Green­halgh said.

“It’s a big mess – why would they de­liver en­velopes – postage can get lost – it’s not go­ing to be a fair sur­vey if there’s postal votes get­ting lost ev­ery­where.”

There have been reports of people il­le­gally sell­ing their votes on­line, “yes” and “no” cam­paign­ers of­fer­ing to fill in forms for oth­ers, and sur­vey thefts.

The postal vote dis­as­ter has come with in­creas­ing so­cial media de­bate and con­tro­ver­sial ad­ver­tis­ing on the is­sue, all on the agenda at Fruitopia on Satur­day.

The Trop­i­cal Fruits’ an­nual fam­ily fun day at the Lis­more Show­ground be­came an op­por­tu­nity for the re­gion’s LGBQTI com­mu­nity to “check in” with each other amid the chaos.

The North­ern Star’s en­ter­tain­ment ed­i­tor Javier En­cal­ada was at the event, and said the North­ern Rivers LGBQTI com­mu­nity would bond while en­joy­ing the dog show, kids games, stalls and live mu­sic acts.

“This was a great day for the com­mu­nity to meet each other and to make sure that we’re all okay, and to sup­port each other,” Mr En­cal­ada said.

“It re­minds me of the bi­o­log­i­cal fam­ily re­la­tion­ships that we have in our lives, and the other fam­ily that we have in our com­mu­nity – and that we’re def­i­nitely not alone.

“And that’s the rea­son why we’re fight­ing this fight.”

Res­i­dents who wish to re­quest a new form must re­quest is on­line at the ABS web­site by 6pm on Oc­to­ber 18, 2017.

PHOTOS: JAVIER EN­CAL­ADA

FIND­ING A VOICE: Wolf­song Choir, led by Imo­gen Wolf, at Fruitopia fes­ti­val, Lis­more Show­grounds, on Satur­day.

Yolly dressed up for the dog show at Fruitopia fes­ti­val at the Lis­more Show­grounds on Satur­day.

A colour­ful wel­come was pro­vided at the Fruitopia fes­ti­val at the Lis­more Show­grounds on Satur­day.

Javier En­cal­ada of Ban­ga­low and Damien O'Don­aghue of Suf­folk Park at the Fruitopia fes­ti­val at the Lis­more Show­grounds on Satur­day.

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